Harvesting rattleballs and spray paint

Hi all - I just made a great discovery. Up until lately I have been
harvesting the ralleballs from old spray cans for use in bottled
paints. Normally, this entailed cutting the can with a hacksaw blade
and then cutting about halfway through the can. Then I would deform
the can and pour the ball and any residual paint onto a folded paper
towel and move the ball to a cleaner towel for wiping. Then I'd rinse
the ball in a jar of turps or mineral spirits to clean it off before
putting it in a fresh bottle of paint.
Because the weather is so crappy now (low 20s, windy resulting in a
severe wind chill and some snow), I am forced to either do this in the
garage or wait until Spring (and I already had 21 cans of paint to
harvest now). So instead of using the hacksaw, I got a 1/8" drill bit
and mounted it in my cordless drill (Wal-Mart special for $5.00) and
slowly drilled a hole.
I found that by drilling slowly, I could bleed off propellant very
slowly and the can would stay still enough to keep much paint from
gysering out. By putting the can in my vise, I also can drill with one
hand and hald a rag in my other hand if the damn thing DOES start
gysering up to plug it. Then I opened the hole with an old needle-
nosed pliers so I could remove the ball.
Last night I found myself with an old can of Testors Magnesium
Metalizer about half full and throughly plugged. I did the harvesting
and after the propellant streamed out, I took the can from the vise
and opened the hole a bit and put it over a clean, empty Tamiya bottle
and decanted the usable paint. Then I was able to go in and harvest
the rattleball, which I put directly into the harvested paint.
The important thing is I was able to salvage the paint without making
a mess (oh yeah, had THAT happen before with the saw).
One other oddball thing I discovered; Testors uses one metal ball
bearing, about 1/4" diameter. Tamiya uses two marbles (so far all
cat's eye) that are between 3/8" and 1/2" diameter per can.
Reply to
The Old Man
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My only question is, do you have 911 on speed dial? I don't think I'd drill into a can that hadn't had the pressure released.
Reply to
Reminds me of my misspent youth where I cut a shotgun shell in 2 with an ax to harvest the BBs and the gunpowder. Got lucky and only did it once....
Reply to
I suggest that you invert the can and spray to remove all possible propellant before you drill or cut into the can. Even if the valve on the can is clogged, you can remove it and replace with the valve from another can. Drilling or cutting a can with any propellant left in it is a formula for disaster (or at least an inadvertant painting of yourself and your surroundings).
Reply to
Larry Farrell
These are cans that for the most part have had the paint completely used up. I've only had one can, dark green as a matter of fact, that was about half full with a completely clogged tube that gave me a shower of paint. Also the drill is a very slow speed (more like a powered screwdriver); at the fist sound of escaping gas, I stop and let it bleed out before continuing. At least that's what I did with the partially full magnesium metalizer. No problem.
Reply to
The Old Man
These aren't clogged tips ( have a store of these as well); I check those first. These are clogged feeder tubes inside. Some paints are older and the pigment settles to the bottom. Heavy shaking will generally mix this up, but occasionally some will stay clumped and get into the feed tube, a small 1/16" plastic tube inside.
Reply to
The Old Man
Rufus, I've been doing this for over three years; ever since the Keeper talked about it here back then. Only had one faceful of dark green paint. During the warmer months, I do this outside but this week due to arctic weather (normal January here), I did it indoors in the garage. The trick is to go slowly and patiently.
Reply to
The Old Man
...I'd still turn the can upside down and fully release the pressure before I ever thought about doing anything that penetrated the can. I've seen too many photos from gas bottle accidents, I guess...
...and besides - you can buy glass beads by the bag-load at any craft store. Why risk your eyes and hands chopping open a pressurized can?
Reply to
: : I found that by drilling slowly, I could bleed off propellant very : slowly and the can would stay still enough to keep much paint from : gysering out. : Wouldn't a "church key" type can/bottle opener work to make the initial hole, and be safer as well? Just toss a rag over the stamped metal opener, and slowly pierce the bottom of the can?
I can dent the bottom of the Tamiya primer cans, so I know they aren't that thick...
Seems like a safer way to decant spray paint, too.
Reply to
Bruce Burden
That's another point, here in the People's Republic of New York, they don't WANT rattlecans in the landfill. And BBs are too small and lightweight. And the local Ace Hardware (the only place that I've found locally who sells ball bearings) wants 20=A2 each for stainless steel ball bearings (plus tax, of course) - I'd love to find them 1000 for $3.00!
Reply to
The Old Man
lots of reloaders shops sell bb's. that's where i get ammo for my daisy pump when i have to blast pigeon's and dogs. check in the back of guns and ammo type rags. on line even.
Reply to
snipped-for-privacy@some.domain wrote the following:
, The Old Man wrote:
Load up the BB pump gun and use the can as a target. You can then throw the can in the garbage.
Reply to
The Old Man wrote the following:
I found this when viewing on-line tips for modelers. Step by step decanting of spray paint cans. Part 1:
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Reply to
Thanks for that Youtube; I've downloaded it and will save it to a disk of tips. I occasionally decant paints like this, except that I use an old WD-40 spray tip so I can mount the extension tube directly to it. This nozzle and tube are strictly for decanting paints and cleaned and stored after each use. The decanting that I was talking about however is from old spraycans whose feeder tubes inside have clogged and are keeping almost all of the paint where I can't otherwise get to it. I did another one the other day. I put it in my modeler's vise and let it sit overnight. I placed a small plastic box underneath it "just in case" there were any drips. The next morning (while the garage was still extremely cold - 38 degrees), I slowly drilled into the can and as soon as I heard escaping gases, I covered it with a cotton rag. After the gas had expanded (admittedly the most troublesome part of the task), I enlarged the hole with a 1/4" drill bit. Next I removed the can from the vise, put the top of the jar that I was using for the paint storage and slowly poured the paint into the glass jar. When that was finished, I set the paint aside to outgas some more and cut the can from the hole out and extracted the rattleball. Seeing as this ball was going into the jar along with the paint, I didn't bother cleaning it off, but put it right in. After about twenty minutes or so, I covered the top of the jar with a square of wax paper and put the top on loosely. After an hour or so, I capped the jar and am good to go. When the paint can is hopelessly jammed, this is the only way that I've found to salvage the paint; any other realistic suggestions would be welcome. Oh and I wasn't kidding about the town not wanting to take spray cans in the garbage; today was garbage day and a neighbor down the street was throwing out some old Krylon spray cans with the trash. When the garbagemen saw these in the can just before it went into the back of the truck, they returned it to the ground (okay, snowbank) and left a preprinted note about banned items in the trash that can only be accepted when the municipality has a hazardous waste recycling day. The driver told me that they had a problem "once" when some cans exploded when being crushed and "paint got over everything." However, it seems that my opened cans are all right because they've been emptied.
Reply to
The Old Man
The reason that paint dries in the tube is because, after finishing spraying, you didn't turn the can upside down and press the nozzle for a couple of seconds until clear propellant (no pigment) comes out of the nozzle. this clears the tube of pigment. You can see and hear the difference in spray sound. There is always more propellant than is needed for the amount of paint in the can. you'll notice this when you run out of paint, but the propellant still comes out.
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